The Alhambra

Author: Washington Irving  | Date: 1832

Preface to the Revised Edition.

Rough draughts of some of the following tales and essays were actually written during a residence in the Alhambra; others were subsequently added, founded on notes and observations made there. Care was taken to maintain local coloring and verisimilitude; so that the whole might present a faithful and living picture of that microcosm, that singular little world into which I had been fortuitously thrown; and about which the external world had a very imperfect idea. It was my endeavor scrupulously to depict its half Spanish, half Oriental character; its mixture of the heroic, the poetic, and the grotesque; to revive the traces of grace and beauty fast fading from its walls; to record the regal and chivalrous traditions concerning those who once trod its courts; and the whimsical and superstitious legends of the motley race now burrowing among its ruins.

The papers thus roughly sketched out lay for three or four years in my portfolio, until I found myself in London, in 1832, on the eve of returning to the United States. I then endeavored to arrange them for the press, but the preparations for departure did not allow sufficient leisure. Several were thrown aside as incomplete; the rest were put together somewhat hastily and in rather a crude and chaotic manner.

In the present edition I have revised and re-arranged the whole work, enlarged some parts, and added others, including the papers originally omitted; and have thus endeavored to render it more complete and more worthy of the indulgent reception with which it has been favored.

W. I.

Sunnyside, 1851.


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Chicago: Washington Irving, "Preface to the Revised Edition.," The Alhambra Original Sources, accessed April 22, 2024,

MLA: Irving, Washington. "Preface to the Revised Edition." The Alhambra, Original Sources. 22 Apr. 2024.

Harvard: Irving, W, 'Preface to the Revised Edition.' in The Alhambra. Original Sources, retrieved 22 April 2024, from